Nikon announced the D5300 in October, 2013 and the D3300 (an updated version of the popular D3200) a few months later in January, 2014. Both of these cameras were built with entry-level DSLR users in mind and they both do their jobs very well. With the exception of a few bells and whistles, these cameras are virtually identical. The D5300 has the same crop sensor as the D3300 but adds additional autofocus points, an articulating screen, and WiFi. The D5300 also has the ability to shoot multiple exposures and do in-camera HDR.
Nikon D3300 vs D5300
|Camera||Nikon D3300||Nikon D5300|
|Date Announced||January 2014||October 2013|
|MSRP||$550 (lens included)||$596 (body only)|
|Resolution||24 MP||24 MP|
|Max Resolution||6000 x 4000||6000 x 4000|
|Shutter Speeds||1/4000 to 30 seconds||1/4000 to 30 seconds|
|Storage||One SD card||One SD card|
|LCD||3.0″ 921k-Dot LCD Monitor||3.2″ 1,037k-Dot Vari-Angle LCD Monitor|
|Extended ISO Range||100-12800||100-12800|
|Battery||EN-EL14A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery||EN-EL14a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery|
|Shots Per Charge||700||600|
|Burst Rate||5 FPS||5 FPS|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/200 second||1/200 second|
|AF Modes||Continuous-servo AF (C)
Full-time Servo (F)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
|Continuous-servo AF (C)
Full-time Servo (F)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
|WiFi for both images and remote control||Yes (with optional transmitter)||Yes|
|Body Frame||Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer||Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer|
|Size||4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0”||4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0”|
|Weight||15 ounces (body only)||1.06 lbs (body only)|
|Video Resolution||Full HD 1080p video recording at 60 FPS||Full HD 1080p video recording at 60 FPS|
|7 Day Rental||$39 (body only)||$45 (body only)|
LCD Screen: D5300 wins
The LCD screen plays a major role in how you interact with your camera. While the D3300’s screen is fixed to the back of the camera, the LCD on the D5300 flips out and is able to be rotated around. This makes it easier to compose shots when you are shooting with your camera above your head or on the ground. It also makes it easier to take photos of yourself because the LCD screen can be flipped around completely so that it’s facing you.
Shots Per Charge: D3300 wins
The D3300 has a slightly longer battery life than the D5300, which means you won’t have to carry as many batteries when you are out and about with your camera. A longer battery life also means that you won’t have to interrupt shooting to swap batteries as often.
Autofocus Points: D5300 wins
The D5300 has 39 autofocus points while the D3300 has only 11, making the D300 the clear winner when it comes to autofocus capabilities. While most novice photographers won’t notice the difference in autofocus between the two cameras, anyone who shoots fast moving subjects (like sports or wildlife) will appreciate the more robust system on D5300. Learn more about the importance of autofocus points in All About Autofocus: Focus Area vs Focus Mode for Beginners.
Multiple Exposures: D5300 wins
A popular technique for film photography is to take multiple exposures on the same frame, giving the appearance of two photos stacked on top of the other. The D5300 makes it possible to do this digitally. Multiple exposure photography is a fun way to add some creativity to your work.
HDR: D5300 wins
If you’ve ever tried to properly expose a photo with extreme differences in light you have experienced the frustration that led to the development of HDR photography. High Dynamic Range is a technique by which photographers take photos of the same subject for different exposures and merge them together to create one photo that is properly exposed throughout the image. Typically this merging of images is done during post-processing but the D5300’s HDR mode is able to do it in-camera.
GPS and WiFi: D5300 wins
The D5300 is the clear winner in terms of GPS and WiFi. GPS capabilities in-camera is useful for the times when you want to remember exactly where you took all of your pictures. If you’re on a whirlwind vacation and want to keep your locations straight, GPS is very helpful. It’s also incredibly useful for professionals like scientists who may take photos in the field as part of their job. WiFi makes it possible to both control your camera with your phone (which is great for taking selfies) and to upload pictures straight to your phone for sharing on social media. The D3300 has WiFi with an optional transmitter but the D5300 has WiFi built into the camera.
The D3300 and D5300 are both excellent options for new photographers looking to try DSLR photography. The decision between them really comes down to whether you will use the flip screen and additional autofocus points of the D5300. The flip screen and improved focusing capabilities make the D5300 the better for people who plan to take video or photograph moving objects like athletes or birds in flight.
The D3300 may be the best option for a lot of entry-level users because it is lighter and less expensive, especially when you consider that it comes with a lens. If you see yourself upgrading to a higher level camera in the future, saving a few dollars and going with the D3300 may be a smart way to go.
The D3300 and D5300 both compete with Canon’s Rebel line, especially its newest offering, the T6i. Like the T6i, the D3300 and D5300 both have 24MP crop sensors and ISO capabilities up to 25,600. If the T6i beats its Nikon competitors in one area it is with the touchscreen. The T6i has a 3” articulating touch screen while the D5300 has a non-touch activated flip screen and the D3300’s screen is fixed to the back of the camera. The T6i (body only) is also $150 more than the D5300 (body only) and $200 more than the D3300, which also includes a lens. Ultimately, if you’re still split, try renting before committing to a purchase. You can also visit our other Nikon comparison guides for the Nikon D7100 vs D7200 or the Nikon D7100 vs Canon 70D.